Iran ordered the recent spate of terror attacks inside Israel as revenge for Mossad’s sabotage of its nuclear programme, a former top IDF official has told the JC.
Brigadier General Amir Avivi, founder of the Israel Defense and Security Forum, said: “Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is a militia, like Hezbollah, that is trained, funded, and directed by Iran.
“Iran has tried many times to retaliate in other ways to Israel’s attacks on its nuclear facilities but it has failed and has realised that the best way it can retaliate is via militias such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and PIJ in Gaza and the West Bank.”
Between 22 March and 5 May, 19 Israelis died in terror attacks, the highest death toll from terror in years.
Brig Gen Avivi’s comments come after a gunman opened fire on a bus of Jewish worshippers leaving the Western Wall on Sunday, along with people in a nearby car park.
Eight people, including five American tourists, were wounded, two seriously. East Jerusalem citizen Amir Sidawi, 26, gave himself up to police shortly afterwards. While Hamas and PIJ, both heavily linked with Tehran, publicly praised the attack, no group has claimed responsibility for it.
The attack followed the latest clashes between Israel and PIJ in which the entire PIJ leadership in Gaza is said to have been eliminated.
Last month, Iranian state media claimed it had foiled a Mossad plan to bomb a “very sensitive” site in the same province as the Natanz nuclear plant.
Brig Gen Avivi, who has served as an IDF brigade commander, deputy division commander, and head of its military school of engineers, explained: “Iran ordered the PIJ to carry out an anti-tank missile attack on Israeli citizens on the main road between Israel and Gaza.
“This threat meant that in the south of Israel there were three-and-a-half days when people were essentially living in lockdown due to the threat of an anti-tank missile attack and roads were closed. People were living in fear without a single shot being fired.
“The IDF realised that this situation was not sustainable and that they needed to attack this terror group and take out their commanders. They have very good intelligence and operation capability, and their cooperation with Shin Bet has meant they were able to decapitate all of PIJ’s main leadership in Gaza.
“Nevertheless, it is obvious that within a few months they will be able to rebuild these capabilities and maybe they will be in a place to launch more attacks.
“From our experience with Hamas and others, we know that every year to year-and-a-half when they regain capabilities again they are not deterred from launching more attacks.
“Gaza is not the only problem because Gaza is affecting all of Israel.”
An American citizen who was on the Jerusalem bus when it was attacked described the horrific scenes.
“A few minutes after I got on the bus, I heard gunfire and saw the window shattered. I bent over quickly and saw blood around my shoulder,” Menahem Palace, from New York, told Israeli outlet Ynet.
“People around me were screaming ‘Shema Yisrael’. It was really scary.”
Brig Gen Avivi explained: “This is something that we need to deal with better because Hamas is becoming stronger as they attempt to move their ideas into Israeli society and further penetrate the minds of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria where the current PA leadership is quite unpopular.
“At the moment, as we have been doing for the past 16 years, we are buying time and trying to ensure long gaps between one operation to the next, but while we are doing that Hamas is able to get more and more support.
“In many ways, they have become heroes in Palestinian society.”
He added: “While this month’s decapitation of the PIJ leadership was claimed as a success by Israel, it was more complicated on the strategic level because at the end of the day, every year, millions of Israelis are under fire.
“The ideology of groups such as PIJ and Hamas is increasingly affecting Arab-Israeli society, and brainwashing our citizens.
“We have seen in the past few months more and more terror attacks by Israeli Arabs who have been indoctrinated by this jihadist ideology that Hamas and PIJ are pushing forward.”
Source » thejc